I had the most hysterical conversation yesterday with a couple of friends. One is working seasonally at a retail store and was sharing her woes of Black Friday. She was sharing with us some of the bizarre conversations she has experienced so far with people shopping. My other friend began to role play exactly how she would react in each of those situations. Let’s just say the character she was portraying would have won no Customer Service awards. But, it absolutely cracked me up! She had us in stitches over the totally inappropriate ways she would respond to grumpy, rude, entitled, and greedy customers. The friend who is working retail only WISHED she could respond in those ways, but had a great time laughing about it.
It had me thinking today, as I was out and about, to pay attention to people a bit more closely. During the holidays, people experience extreme stress. Whether because of financial pressures, family situations, loss of jobs, grief, divorce, and a host of other reasons. These stories play in the background of people’s lives and we often do not see them and do not respond to them. I went out today with a challenge. I asked God to show me people in my environment who had a back story of pain and loneliness. I told Him I just wanted the opportunity to redirect someone’s day through one simple act of kindness. Fully confident He would bring me someone, I went on about my day.
I had to make a quick run to the grocery store. It was busy and packed with lots of people going lots of directions at a very fast pace. Many being impatient, grumpy, entitled, and greedy to those they passed (or bumped into) on the aisles. I found myself on the canned vegetable aisle and was looking for a specific ingredient, when I noticed a lady in a wheelchair out of the corner of my eye. She was an elderly lady shopping alone and was obviously distressed. I stopped what I was doing and went over and asked her if she needed help.
She looked up at me in surprise and said, “Oh, do you work here?”
“No,” I said, “I would just like to help you.”
After the look of confusion left her face she told me exactly what she was looking for and I went on a search. It was well out of her reach and too high for her to have even seen it. I got the product down for her and put it in her basket. After a kind smile, I started to walk away, when she grabbed my arm. I turned to look at her and with tears in her eye, she said “Thank you sweetie.”
I didn’t know her back story, but her face traveled with me through the rest of my grocery list. I couldn’t help but wonder if she was all alone. I wondered when the last time someone was kind to her. My mind was spinning and my heart was praying for this sweet little lady as I finished my chore.
I finished unloading the groceries and was returning to the car after parking the basket. I noticed an older couple parked in the front unloading groceries, quite slowly in fact. As they nervously unloaded the groceries into their trunk a large SUV was creeping right behind them with their blinker flashing. The gentlemen started to walk toward the cart parking spot with his empty cart when the driver of the SUV rolled down their window and started hurling insults at the man. The look on his face was absolute mortification. I could only assume the angry SUV driver was bullying the man to hurry up. I ran over to him and told him that I would park the basket for him. He stopped and looked at me, still stunned from the abusive comments of the SUV driver. He thanked me quickly and hurried back to his car.
It’s funny how one simple act of kindness can turn someone’s day in a new direction! I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity not once, but twice, today! I challenge you to invite God into your day tomorrow and see if there is not a fellow traveler who could benefit from a simple act of kindness!